fairs vs open houses and a quick word about IEPS and services

Several people have asked if one needs to go a high school fair if you’re planning to attend specific school tours/ open houses. That’s a terrific question and there’s no one answer. Of course, visiting specific schools is great when/if you can. You get to experience the commute, the neighborhood, the building, the classrooms. You’ll  get to talk to, or at least hear from students, teachers, and or administrators. Some schools lead you on very scripted tours, others allow you to wander the building on your own. I often say it’s not like comparing apples to oranges, more like apples to zebras as the experiences can be so remarkably different. I’ll write more about that later. 

One nice thing though about fairs is you get to one stop shop and see a bunch of options in a short period of time. And, if you’ve got specific questions about your child, you might have an easier time talking to a school administrator one on one. If could be that you ask a question at the fair and realize the school might not be a good fit for your kid and then that’s one less tour/open house you need to go on. Fairs are also great if you don’t have time in your schedule to attend all the open houses and tours out there - it gets remarkably time consuming when you’re in the thick of things. 

I want to mention IEPS and services while talking about talking to schools. Every school has a different set up. Every school handles things differently. If your child gets services, will need services, has an IEP, I strongly suggest making sure schools you’re interested in offer and can accommodate what you need. As each student has their own individual needs, there’s not a blanket set up that covers every kid at every school. You can also be in touch with your middle school guidance counselors for input.